So here’s what I knew about Tahiti.
Bubkus. To be honest, I was only vaguely sure that it was in the Pacific, as opposed to the Caribbean. Here’s what I know about it now.
What we think of as “Tahiti” is actually French Polynesia. And “Tahiti” is merely one of the many, many islands that comprise French Polynesia, which is scattered across a massive portion of the Pacific Ocean. There are basically three sections (by basically I mean “more than three, but three big ones”). The Society Islands include most of the resort destinations: Tahiti, Bora Bora and Moorea (not to mention the late Marlon Brando’s private island Tetiaroa). The Tuamotu Archipelago contains lots of the best diving locations, including Rangiroa. And the Marquesas, which include Nuku Hiva and Hiva Oa, are the more rugged islands that were featured on Survivor.
My adventure began with an eight hour red-eye from Los Angeles to Papeete, Tahiti (the only “city” you’ll find in French Polynesia). Let me just take a moment to sing the praises of two drugs. Ambien is a tiny little pill, but it has the magical power to transform an endless, sleepless, jet-lagging flight into what is basically teleportation. You sit in your seat, you take the pill, you close your eyes…you open them and you’re there. Awesome.
Side note…if you haven’t read Stephen King’s short story The Jaunt…you should. It haunts me to this very day…
After landing, we jumped on what would turn out to be the first of about four hundred thousand small plane rides, this time heading from Papeete to Bora Bora. Our accomodations were the luxurious overwater bungalows at the Intercontinental. I checked in, put my bathing suit on, walked out the back door of my bungalow, and jumped in the most beautiful water I’ve ever seen. It’s hard to get used to the brilliant color of the French Polynesian water. Depending on the depth, it’s either deep blue, sky blue, turquoise blue, aquamarine blue, or some other alien-world shade of blue. The depth changes abruptly, so the water changes color along clean lines, as if someone carefully painted each lagoon.
After a short swim, the wonderful madness began.
Our two main guides for our trip were Franck Priot of Film France, and Jonathan Reap of Tahiti Tourisme. They were a pretty amazing duo. Franck’s job was to design as many possible inspirational and educational moments into each day, and Jonathan’s job was to figure out exactly how to do it. In theory, it’s a recipe for disaster, but in practice, they were brilliant. Franck planned every moment of every day as if our lives depended on how much we could possibly experience. Jonathan…well…Jonathan is basically the Mr. Wolf of French Polynesia. If you need something, anything, at any time of day or night, he’s your man. He solves problems. He makes stuff happen.
I’m not sure, but I think Jonathan knows every single person who lives in French Polynesia. And they all owe him favors.
Between the two of them, Franck and Jonathan could pretty much get us into (and out of) as much excitement and trouble as they desired. Case in point: the jet skis. Our first mission, undertaken just hours after arriving, was to jump on jet-skis in the lagoon in Bora Bora and then ride out into the open ocean and arrive at the atoll of Tupai.
Here are some facts.
None of us had ever been on a jet-ski. People aren’t traditionally allowed to jet-ski out of the lagoon. There were reports of 3 meter swells in the ocean. The Coast Guard was advising against the mission. And people aren’t normally allowed to set foot on Tupai anyway.
To which Franck and Jonathan said, “N’importe quoi.” And off we went.
I have to say that it was a wonderful feeling to be free of the normal American bubble of fear-of-litigation. Within minutes of learning how to jet-ski (sit down, press accelerator, hold the hell on), we were all catching air, getting smashed in the face with seawater, slamming into massive waves, chasing our guides at absurd speeds, wind screaming in our ears, our asses banging against the seat…
I loved it. Nick Schenck actually got tossed off his jet-ski. Our guides finally gave up fighting the waves and said we had to head back to the lagoon. Franck announced that this first mission was a “failure,” but he couldn’t have been more wrong. It was a complete success. My heart was pounding, my legs were aching (all of us were muscle-cramped for days), my eyes were burning…but I was already in love with this place.
A simple observation: if you involuntarily shout “OH!” more than ten times in an hour, you’re getting some living done.
After our jet ski adventure, we took a boat to a private motu (motus are small atolls), where we had a traditional Polynesian lunch. This was the first of many meals that centered around poisson cru (literally “raw fish”). Polynesians are very proud of this–their most famous dish–which is typically a mixture of raw tuna, onions, lime juice and coconut milk. It’s quite good, especially when someone cracks open a fresh coconut, grates the inside of it using a traditional tool, then squeezes the coconut milk right into the tuna. On the other hand, every single person we encountered in French Polynesia fed us poisson cru. Every…single…person. It was as if they hadn’t considered that other Polynesians would have had the same idea. So while I really enjoyed poisson cru, by the time we had our fifteenth serving of it on day 7, it was a bit much.
Got bad enough that we eventually decided we would name ourselves The Poisson Crew. I know…but trust me, it’s very funny…if you’re really tired and eating poisson cru. Again.
Up next…swimming with sharks. The real ones.
Normally, when WGAw election results are announced, I’m right on top of it. But that wasn’t going to happen this year, because when the ballots were counted, I wasn’t home. I wasn’t in Los Angeles, or Calfornia, or the United States…or even the Northern Hemisphere.
I was in French Polynesia. Not as a tourist, mind you, but as a screenwriter and guest of Film France, the French Film and TV Office of the French Embassy, the Tahiti Film Office, Tahiti Tourism, Air Tahiti Nui and many others.
For the second year in a row, the French government chose to sponsor a group of screenwriters in order to inspire them. The idea is simple enough. A screenwriter writes a film or even just a scene or two that takes place in Paris or Marseille or Tahiti or French Guyana…and France and its people reap the economic rewards of the resulting film production.
While many might think that inviting producers or studio executives is a better way to go, the French (and I) disagree. I think it’s actually quite brilliant. True, so many of what I call “secondary decisions” are out of the screenwriter’s hands, e.g. who to cast, which building to shoot, is it day or night, short or lengthy, broad or restrained, etc.
But the primary decisions are often made by the screenwriter before anyone realizes it’s happened. We may not determine whether or not Bruce Willis or Denzel Washington is cast, but we’ve written the role for a rugged, masculine, action-oriented man in his 50′s. We may not decide to shoot a sequence in Bora Bora, but we’ve written a script that takes place in a romantic honeymoon getaway resort.
We define the parameters more than most are willing to admit.
The French, to their credit, readily embrace this reality.
And so, I found myself journeying to Tahiti, Bora Bora and the Marquesas with Marc Norman (Shakespeare In Love), Kevin Bisch (Hitch), Nick Schenck (Gran Torino), Jeff Lowell (Hotel For Dogs), David Stem (Shrek 2) and Paul Boardman (The Exorcism of Emily Rose).
Coming up next…a week, the places, people and stories I’ll never forget.
Can’t really write much of an entry now (all will be explained later next week), but I wanted to take a quick moment to congratulate all of the winners of the WGAw election.
While I was disappointed that some of the candidates I admire (like Howard Michael Gould, Chris Keyser, Jeff Lowell and Mick Betancourt) didn’t win, the end result is very encouraging.
First, I believe strongly that John Wells is our best chance at a good contract.
Second, I believe our high turnout sent a firm message to the AMPTP.
Third, and most importantly, I don’t have much interest in one slate dominating another. For the last 5 years, our Guild has been a one-party system, and that’s changed in a huge way. Let the Board Room once again feature the kind of healthy discourse and debate that results only from philosophical diversity.
Today is the final day of voting for the WGAw. If you’re eligible to vote, please do.
Below, reprinted in its entirety, is an election day message from former WGAw President Dan Petrie Jr.
I’ve always admired the kind of writer who sits down at the keyboard and starts writing the minute they get a cool idea or land an assignment — but I am not that kind of writer. I let things slide until the deadline approaches. That’s why, even though I think the current Writers Guild election is vitally important, I only voted today, at almost (but not quite) the last minute.
Now, if a writers Guild nerd like me waits until four days before the deadline to mail in his ballot, you might not have voted either. If you have voted, you have the immediate reward of not having to finish this e-mail. If you haven’t voted, please read on.
Please, please, pretty please with sugar on top: vote. As John Wells points out at every opportunity, management looks at our voter participation levels, and reads low voter turnout as a sign of weakness. If you are going to vote by mail, dig out your election booklet and ballot and vote right now. In order for your vote to count, it must be in the mailbox of Pacific election services by 9 AM Friday, September 18. For all practical purposes that means that the letter has to arrive on Thursday, which means that if you live in Los Angeles you should mail it Tuesday at the latest. Lost your ballot? You can get a replacement ballot by calling Robbin Johnson at Pacific Election Services at (800) 571-8049 or by e-mailing email@example.com, but remember that by the time they mail the replacement ballot to you, it might be too late for you to mail it back. But that’s no excuse — you can get a friend to deliver your ballot to the annual meeting in the WGA multipurpose room on Thursday, September 17, from 6:00 until 10 minutes after the end of the meeting. And, if you go to the meeting yourself, you can obtain your replacement ballot on the spot, vote in the voting booth and put your ballot in the ballot box, and you don’t even have to attend the meeting if you don’t want to.
I recommend you vote for…
Why did I vote the way I did? I’ll tell you, but first I better warn you: what follows is long.
Even though you may not have been following the election, you probably could not avoid hearing that there were a bunch of attacks leveled against John Wells. This election had swiftly become the ugliest in my memory, which goes back fairly far and encompasses a fair amount of ugliness. None of the present ugliness, I’m happy to say, was initiated by the candidates I am supporting. Unlike the Writers United campaign in 2005, which was about their vision for the future of the Guild, Patric Verrone and Elias Davis have centered their current campaign from the start on a series of personal attacks on John Wells’s character and prior service. It was appalling to see good and decent people, justly proud of their Guild service, become apparently so convinced of the rightness of their cause that even sleazy personal attacks – attacks they knew to be false – against John Wells were somehow justified. But earlier this month, there was a sudden outbreak of sanity.
At the Meet the Candidates Night on Wednesday, September 2, John Wells and John Bowman opened the meeting by making statements calling the recent accusations by Patric Verrone and John Bowman (to the effect that they knew nothing of John Wells’s back channel communications with the DGA during our strike) a “misunderstanding.” John Bowman’s opening words were, “of course I knew that John Wells was talking with the DGA.”
A misunderstanding. Given the sweeping and vitriolic nature of the accusations, which were repeated in two e-mails to the entire membership and in an Elias Davis campaign statement, and given that John Wells had absolutely incontrovertible contemporaneous evidence to the contrary, John Wells would have been well within his rights to characterize Patric Verrone’s, John Bowman’s and Elias Davis’s false assertions in much stronger terms. They, in turn, could have adopted the standard political tactic employed by those caught making a less than truthful statement of repeating it more and more loudly. It is very much to the credit of John Wells and John Bowman that they came together to adopt a different course.
John Wells’s generosity, his willingness to put Guild unity ahead of an opportunity for political advantage, is entirely characteristic of the man. He would rather lose the election then leave the Guild fractured. And that’s just one of the reasons I’m supporting him for Guild President.
While Writers United did the honorable thing by withdrawing the false accusations, one can’t un-ring a bell. The first Verrone/Bowman letter containing the false allegations was sent in an e-mail blast to the membership on Friday, August 28, timed to arrive with the ballots, knowing that a large percentage of members tend to vote that first weekend. Because election e-mails go through the Guild, any response from John Wells would be delayed to that Monday at the earliest. Moreover, we are all familiar with the phenomenon of an accusation receiving a blaze of publicity, but its subsequent withdrawal getting much less attention.
This Writers United negative campaign has sought to portray John Wells as a kind of management stooge, an Executive Producer (using that term as an epithet) ready to sell us out, or at least be overly conciliatory, in order to get cozy with the company bosses. Of all the appalling things about this false narrative, the most reprehensible to me is that many of those purveying this nonsense know perfectly well, firsthand, that it’s not true. And I’m talking about some people who are friends of mine and friends of John Wells, and who ought to be ashamed of themselves. But I can see how these lies could give pause to members who don’t know John personally. Well, I do, and I can tell you that this characterization of John Wells is a lie through and through.
John Wells is a writer first and foremost. Yes, he has become an exceptionally successful show runner and executive producer, but anyone who knows the television business knows that John’s work as a writer was and continues to be the foundation of that success.
John’s loyalties are to his fellow writers, as evidenced by his extraordinary record of service to our Guild, on the board and on innumerable committees, two terms as secretary treasurer, one as vice president and one as president. His dedication to serving his fellow writers is further demonstrated by his willingness to accept the nomination to run for president now, after a reportedly exhaustive effort by the nominating committee failed to turn up any one else willing to take on the Writers United juggernaut.
The suggestion that John Wells would sell out writers or be overly conciliatory in negotiations is both absurd and contradicted by history. Members should think back to the extremely tough negotiation of 2001, during John’s presidency, in which John’s carefully calibrated use of the strike threat sent the companies into spasms of stockpiling and accelerated production.
But what about John’s public support for the DGA deal? The now withdrawn Verrone/Bowman letters claimed that it undercut our Guild’s leverage. But that assertion contradicts Writers United’s own position. Our deal is the DGA deal, in most material respects; the only differences are those we asked for. Why in the world then would Patric Verrone attack John Wells for praising essentially the same deal that Patric told our membership was our best deal in 30 years?
While Patric’s claim might be disingenuous and contradictory, it is undeniable that many members felt disappointed by the DGA deal. John’s public support of that deal felt to more than one writer I very much respect like “a punch in the gut.” Given that this was the template for the same deal that was later so fulsomely praised by Patric and so overwhelmingly ratified by the membership, why then that strong initial reaction of disappointment?
I have an opinion about it, which, like the rest of this letter, represents my own thinking and not necessarily that of any of the candidates I’m supporting. I think that the membership saw the deal for exactly what it was, a hard-fought, hard-won compromise that, while far more than the companies were initially willing to give, was undeniably much less than we wanted. And we’d been on strike for three months! We’d made enormous sacrifices. We’d hung together and demonstrated our unity, our resolve. We’d been pumped up by our leaders’ rhetoric suggesting that a great victory was at hand. We expected the fruit of that victory would be a deal at least commensurate with our solidarity and sacrifice. And thus it was natural to feel an emotional letdown when the deal proved to be just that: a deal. While our negotiating committee (unanimously) and later our membership (by a huge margin) came to agree with John Wells’s dispassionate analysis that the deal struck by the DGA was a good one that won for us important new media provisions we can build on in the future, I wonder how many members would go so far as to describe our 2008 contract as a great victory, the best in 30 years.
In 2001 I sat next to John Wells across the table from a phalanx of company CEOs when John told them that whether or not we went on strike or they locked us out, at the end of the day the deal we would make would still be “painful for them and disappointing to us.” That was true then, true in 2004 and 2008, and will be true again in 2011.
In 2004 as in 2008 we also learned again what we learned so painfully in 1985 and 1988, the power of pattern bargaining. For good or ill, the creative unions get, to a vast extent, what the others get.
It’s certainly not emotionally satisfying to be making deals that are painful to them but disappointing to us, not if they come at such a cost. It’s even less emotionally satisfying to realize the extent to which we are dependent upon the negotiations of our sister guilds. The rhetoric of Writers United denies these facts even as their own experience reaffirms once again their truth.
What conclusions for our future should we draw from our recent experience? First, if the same deal can be achieved with a strike or without a strike, it is obviously to our complete economic advantage to achieve it without one. Writers United deserves every praise for its management of the strike itself, but less in my view for the rhetorical climate leading up to it. Don’t get me wrong; the strike was at least as much the fault of management as it was ours. But Writers United, intentionally or not, caused the companies to become genuinely convinced that the Writers Guild was hell-bent on striking and uninterested in serious negotiations. John Wells and his running mates can’t rule out having to recommend a strike, of course, but you can be sure they will first make every effort to conduct a serious, hard-fought and principled negotiation.
Second, we learned yet again that the negotiations of our sister unions are key to our own. And in 2011, the Directors Guild will in all likelihood be going before us. Our interests demand a strategic alliance with the Directors Guild as well as with SAG. Like it or not, our relationships with our sister guilds need to be like those between Britain and the United States in World War II: even if, occasionally, the parties see each other as exasperating, even if things get tense, even adversarial, we must find a way to make common cause together. Under Writers United our relationship with the DGA has gone from good to bad to nonexistent. Almost lost in the hullabaloo over John Wells’s back channel communications with the DGA in 2007 is the central fact that we needed John Wells to communicate with the DGA! I appreciate that Elias Davis also wants an improved relationship with the Directors Guild, but as part of the administration that brought those relations to a historic low, I don’t think he’s the best person to achieve that. John Wells is.
I could go on about why I think it’s so important to elect John Wells, but this letter is an epic already. I do want to say a quick word about John’s running mates.
Howard Michael Gould for Vice President. If you were at the convention center in the lead up to the strike and heard his stirring words, you’re probably already for him. A member of the Board of Directors and our 2007 Negotiating Committee, he is a fierce advocate for writers.
Chris Keyser for Secretary-treasurer. As a member of our Pension and Health Board of Trustees, he’s demonstrated the command of financial affairs needed as our Guild faces a financial crisis — a crisis that in many respects was self-inflicted, and which led to the layoff of 10% of the Guild staff. He’s also a lawyer, well aware of our obligations to those for whom we hold monies in trust: he’s deeply concerned about our Guild’s delivery of foreign levies, which after years of steady progress in getting these out to their rightful recipients, has suddenly slowed by an incredible 27%.
For the Board of Directors:
Mick Betancourt’s union roots run deep — to the Chicago Teamsters, in fact — and he is dedicated to furthering better relations with our sister unions. As a successful content creator for the Internet, he’ll bring his expertise in new media to the Board.
Ian Deitchman did incredible service to the Guild as one of the founders of the United Hollywood website. He is also a co-founder of the Internet start-up company Strike TV, so he’ll also bring to the Board his insights into an area that will be increasingly important to all of us.
Jeff Lowell believes we still have an obligation to all those reality storytellers we promised to organize (which the 2005 Writers United campaign said they could do in “a few months.”) The WU all-or-nothing approach, of course, has been a spectacularly expensive failure; Jeff advocates a new way of going about it that I believe has a much better chance of success.
Steven Schwartz, a member of the 2007 Negotiating Committee and a Trustee of our Health and Pension plans, is dedicated to reordering our priorities toward enforcement and service to our members. In addition to blowing the whistle on the Guild’s backsliding on the delivery of foreign levies, he has also revealed the incredible fact that our Guild has not been spending the funds allocated per the MBA by the companies to the Tri-Guild audit. In other words, the companies give us money that we can use to audit them, and we are not spending all that money!
There you have it. I could talk about this stuff all day, so please feel free to e-mail or call me if there’s anything you’d like to discuss. Whether or not my words have persuaded you, please, please vote. You only have a day left to vote by mail, but you can still vote in person on Thursday evening at the Guild.
The issue surrounding the acquittal of Leno comes down to a clause in the WGA MBA known as the “AFTRA” exception. The trial committee that exonerated Leno has interpreted the clause one way, and David Young is interpreting it another way. I’m going to publish the clause here, and then offer my own explanation for why the trial committee has to be correct.
The clause, for those of you who really love reading the MBA, is in Appendix A, Article 1.A.5.d. Here it is, with my emphasis added:
Article 1.A.5. The first sentence defining the term “literary material” shall include “telescripts,” and the following shall be added: Notwithstanding the foregoing, the following shall be excluded from the definition of literary material:Okay, let’s go through it. What the Guild represents, and what the Guild restrains during a strike, is literary material.
d. material written by the person who delivers it on the air unless such person has written material for delivery by another person as well as by himself/herself on that particular program; provided that, unless elsewhere herein excluded, the following shall not be excluded: Such material written for any dramatic programs, and such material written for comedy-variety programs broadcast in prime time on a basis of once-a-week or less unless the material was completely written for another purpose prior to such person’s engagement.
If someone…say Jay Leno…writes material and then delivers only that material on air, it’s not literary material. We don’t cover it. We don’t restrain it (as long as the show is broadcast more than once a week).
However, let’s say Jay Leno writes some material and then I write some material and someone faxes some material in. At that point, the monologue is no longer purely written by the performer (Leno), and so it is considered literary material. That makes sense.
So what’s the problem? Well, the clause is excusing self-written performance material on that particular program.
Two ways of interpreting that, as far as I can tell. There’s what appears to be the trial committee’s way, which is to say “on that particular program” means on that specific episode. If Jay and I collaborate on Monday’s monologue, it’s literary material. If Jay is the sole writer of Tuesday’s monologue, it’s not.
Then there’s what appears to be David Young’s interpretation, which is to say “on that particular program” means “on The Tonight Show in its totality.”
Here’s why that’s insane…although I’m sure you already get why.
The Tonight Show has been running since 1954. Is David Young really suggesting that if one guy one time wrote one joke for Steve Allen during the Eisenhower Administration…and no other writer save the hosts ever wrote a single joke again…that Jay Leno would still be creating literary material with his entirely self-written monologues in 2008?
That interpretation turns the AFTRA exception into a this-can-never-apply contract term, and that’s a good enough reason to reject it as absurd. Besides, the clause uses the phrase “particular program” in one spot and “program” in another. Obviously, “particular” was meant to imply “an instance of” or “single airing” or “individual show of” or “episode.”
The trial committee wisely rejected David Young’s point of view, and so too should the rest of us.
One of the strangest events of the WGA strike centered around Jay Leno. I wrote about it back then, but to bring you all up to speed, here’s basically what happened.
(Ed. Note: Nikki Finke is all over this.)
Jay Leno was, by all accounts, one of the good guys. When the WGA went on strike, Jay supported his writers and staff. He visited his writers on the line, and he even paid his non-writing staff out of his own pocket for a couple of months.
So, what was his alleged crime?
He had to return to the airwaves. Like Letterman, he was bound by a performance contract. Unlike Letterman, he didn’t own his own show, so he couldn’t sign an interim agreement.
As such, when he went back, he went back without writers. Well, almost without, and that’s where the dispute began. There’s a good article about this at Variety, and I’m deeply disturbed by the implications contained within.
Jay Leno wrote his own monologue material. This is not against the rules, as far as I can tell. Writing material for one’s own performance is covered by AFTRA, it seems to be allowed by our own MBA, and it wasn’t just me who thought that this was acceptable.
Apparently, Patric Verrone said as much to Jay.
So Jay went back to work and wrote his own monologue.
Now…watch what happens.
First, Verrone allegedly catches a boatload of crap from militants within the Guild who believe that Jay returning to work and writing his own monologue is heretical, and they begin warming up the stake. Doesn’t matter what the law or contracts say. Patric, feeling the heat, calls Leno up a few days later and tells him that he’s changed his mind, and Leno can’t write the monologue.
But wait. There’s more.
Verrone and Young also told Leno that he didn’t have to worry about the WGA making an interim deal with Letterman.
Then Verrone and Young did exactly that.
But wait. There’s more.
Verrone promises Peter Chernin, Bob Iger and Carol Lombardini that the Guild will not press scab charges against Leno.
Then the Guild goes ahead and presses scab charges against Leno. Verrone fails to convey his promise to either the Board of Directors or the Strike Rules Committee.
But wait. There’s more.
The Strike Rules Committee refers this case to a jury of writers…which is the source of all the stuff I’m reporting to you now…a jury made up of rank and file members like you and me…and they find that Leno is innocent. In the aftermath, the jury writes a report stating that the leadership had allowed Leno to be mistreated and smeared to the point where the Guild owes him a frickin’ apology.
(Ed. Note: One of the members of that jury, Bill Taub, has a comment up on Nikki’s site backing his position up…scroll down to find it)
And the Guild’s response? David Young, our employee, says we don’t owe Jay dick.
Actually, it’s a bit worse. David’s comment leads, bizarrely enough, with the point that Jay doesn’t owe us an apology, and “vice-versa.”
Okay. Cue Yakety Sax, because this is the most screwed up thing I’ve seen yet. I thought the fi-core “puny” blacklist letter was bad. I thought the ANTM debacle was bad. I thought the deficit, the $30 million in undistributed foreign levies, the lies about not knowing Wells was talking to the DGA, the Sit Down Shut Up smear…I thought all of that was bad.
Apparently, Verrone was just getting warmed up.
Frankly, if his term weren’t almost up, I’d start a recall. This is the stuff of resignations. The President of the WGAw makes a promise to the AMPTP he’s not authorized to make to not prosecute strike rules against a guy he can’t prosecute anyway and then doesn’t tell the Board or the committee he’s promised to stop?
The President of the WGAw tells the host of The Tonight Show that he can write his own monologue, and then changes his mind and says he can’t?
The President of the WGAw sits by silently as his hand-picked Executive Director throws the jury of writers under the bus by claiming that they just don’t understand the rules? Really?
And who does understand the rules? David Young?
From the article:
Asked why Leno received the conflicting guidance during that period, Young responded, “At the time when we first discussed the matter with Jay on New Year’s Eve, I was not entirely certain how to advise him. A few days later, after the New Year’s holiday, I made the guild’s position clear.”Weasel words. Flat out.
From the Variety article, and from the words of the jury itself, I don’t know how one can conclude that Verrone didn’t lie repeatedly.
I don’t know how one can conclude that Young didn’t lie repeatedly.
I don’t know how many more lies we’re supposed to swallow.
All I know is this: if the blacklisted ficoristas, ANTM writers and Sit Down Shut Up writers didn’t get an apology, I’d advise Jay Leno not to hold his breath. These guys aren’t going to admit what they’ve done no matter how red their hands.
The following joint statement was read by John Wells and John Bowman last night at the Guild. I’m publishing it here unabridged.
John Wells: One of the great achievements of the strike and of Guild leadership during the strike was that we began and ended with a united Guild. I think I can speak for all of the candidates you’ll be hearing from tonight when I say we’re all committed to carrying that unity forward.
John Bowman: Of course we knew that John was talking to member of the DGA. I asked him to. But we thought his talks with members of the DGA were limited to A, B, and C. We did not know he would be talking to them about A, B, C, and D … with “D” being the agreement John made to endorse the deal if they were able to reach certain thresholds. Having talked to John about this in the past few days, I understand that he believes he had communicated this to us and to members of the Negotiating Committee. And I believe he acted in what he thought was the best interest of the guild. John and I may disagree as to whether or not that part of his talks was a good thing. But he is still my friend, I still like and respect him, and I hope everyone else can accept that this is an honest misunderstanding between friends that we hope is now behind us.
John Wells: I agree with John’s statement of the facts. He and Patric were well aware that I was talking to members of the DGA … I understand now that we have differing interpretations as to what my mandate was and I appreciate John’s affirmation of my good intentions. I too have nothing but friendship and respect for him and Patric. They have both provided extraordinary service to the Guild and I sincerely hope they will continue to for many years in the future. We have all been through too much together to let one misunderstanding get in the way of that, and I would ask all of those on both sides who have entered into this fray to lay down your weapons – there are no villains here – there are just writers who care passionately about the Guild. It’s time to lower the temperature, accept that each side made mistakes, but each side was honest, and for the good of the Guild we all need to let this go.
I’ve removed the posts regarding the Wells-Bowman spat. There’s been a very good development…something completely in character for these two men, both of whom I’m proud to call friend. Those of you attending Meet The Candidates Night will hear it first.
In the meantime, I suggest that everyone stand down on this one. Our union will prove tonight that we’re not SAG, and we’re never going to be SAG.
In a good way.